EDUCE Overview Copyright 2009 Nikolas S. Boyd.
All rights reserved.

Goal Statement

Intent

Describe a business or functional goal and the appropriate question(s) and metric(s) needed to measure and detect success.

Motivation

To bring about its intended ends, a business has processes, especially processes that operate on information (and so need information systems). Business information systems are products (with qualities) that provide services (which also have qualities). Information services support and improve business operations by streamlining business processes (which have qualities).

Business activity planning (strategic planning) usually involves establishing a set of objectives and priorities, as well as the criteria used to measure progress against those objectives and to determine ultimate success in achieving them (or the failure thereof). Businesses need a repeatable process for clearly defining their objectives (as ends) and the means for achieving those objectives (especially using information systems).

Applicability

Use goal statement when

Considerations

Fortunately, a repeatable process for defining objectives and the criteria for measuring progress and determining success has been developed in the Goal Question Metric (GQM) approach.

Business value is often expressed in financial terms, but it can also be expressed in terms of specific improvements in product, service, and process qualities based on measurable changes in the levels of these qualities. Conceptually, a goal can take one of the following forms:

where C = increase or decrease, depending on the quality (Q).

These forms imply that a baseline measurement for the quality (Q) is known or can be obtained, but this also implies that the measure(s) (metrics) are known. However, in the more general case, the appropriate measure(s) may need to be determined. To that end, a set of questions can be used to characterize the quality (Q), and then a set of metrics applied to answer the questions in (meaningful) measurable terms.

Other forms of goal statement are possible, especially goals that describe maintenance states or homeostatis.

Consider the following goals from an example problem. Within this example, the ECO depot management wants:

To better characterize depot vulnerability, we can ask:

Question Answer
What exposes the depot to vulnerability? When any two neighboring storage buildings are full.
When is a storage building full? When its drum count equals its drum storage limit for any licensed hazard type.
When are two storage buildings neighbors? When their building walls are within 5 meters of each other.
Which depot storage buildings are neighbors? This is determined by the layout of buildings within a depot map.

The results of this consideration can be summarized in a sample quantity card (below).

Consequences

Quality can be measured. Measurement requires appropriate instrumentation. Also, measurement has costs, especially when humans participate. Software can improve business activities, but software also offers the opportunity to reduce measurement costs through automatic data collection, analysis, and presentation as business intelligence for decision support.

Storage Depot Vulnerability

vulnerability proximity, drum counts
vulnerable depot = vulnerable storage building pair
vulnerable buildings = neighboring pair of full storage buildings
neighboring buildings = building walls within 5 meters proximity
full storage building = (drum storage capacity = 0) per hazard type
building drum storage capacity = (drum storage limit - drum count) per hazard type
building drum storage limit from: building drum storage license
building drum count from: building drum inventory